email to John Lewis

From: JOHNSON, Jo <>
Date: 9 June 2014 at 16:49
Subject: RE: HFC/HSBC Restons Weightmans Fraud ref: _00Db0K8yP._500b04A9HY:ref
To: “ben.tomeo

Dear Mr Tomeo,

Thank you for copying Jo into your recent email.  I can assure you that he has, as ever, taken note of your comments.

Kind regards,

Dan Arenson
Office of Jo Johnson MP
House of Commons, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 0207 219 4075 <>

From: Ben Tomeo
Sent: 05 June 2014 11:21
Cc:;; Customer Contact Centre; JOHNSON, Jo
Subject: HFC/HSBC Restons Weightmans Fraud ref: _00Db0K8yP._500b04A9HY:ref

Dear Ms Shea,

Following on from the previous emails I’d like to point out why it is apparent that the allegations of fraud against HSBC and its solicitors are well founded and why, therefore, that John Lewis should be taking them extremely seriously – despite anything that HSBC has told you.

This link takes you to the specific guidance under which debt collection must take place, as published by the FCA:

Application of interest and charges <>

Pay particular attention to this paragraph:

“Where a firm <>  has a contractual right to levy default charges, a regulated credit agreement <>  must state the charges and the conditions for making the charge under, as the case may be, the Consumer Credit (Agreements) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/1014) or the Consumer Credit (Agreements) Regulations 1983 (SI 1983/1553).”

With that in mind, please look at an actual claim submitted by Restons on behalf of John Lewis:

You will notice the ‘Collection Charge’ of £728.97. You will also notice the date of the claim covering the time period between 18/12/09 – 19/01/10, and the date of the original contract which was June 2005. This evidence is contained on Mr Wilson’s website here: HSBC incorrectly states it stopped adding charges <>

As Mr Wilson was at the centre of the team which worked on these contracts, he knows what terminology the contracts used. Specifically regarding default charges, the contracts utilised by John Lewis, HFC and their solicitors stated only that “reasonable costs” would be added on to accounts in default which had been passed on to solicitors for collection. However, these contracts were ‘regulated credit agreements’ and as such were required to state the charges that would be applied in the event of a default (see the FCA guidance page above). The contracts failed to inform consumers of these charges or how they would be calculated (as a percentage of the total debt outstanding, based on solicitors standard fees, or any other method). The contracts simply said: “reasonable costs” would be added. This in itself effectively rendered those contracts fraudulent because, as was irrefutably the case, the deliberate ambiguity of the wording in the contracts – which was a clear breach of consumer credit law – was used by HFC/HSBC and its solicitors to take advantage of ‘consumers in vulnerable circumstances’ and milk them for any amount of money which popped into the heads of the solicitors.

In addition, the opinion of a QC was sought regarding these contracts and the opinion said that the contracts failed not on the grounds of a single point of consumer credit law but on the grounds of six separate failures to uphold consumer credit law. In other words, any consumer that has been fleeced by HSBC and its solicitors regarding these contracts should be able to argue successfully for a full refund of ‘collection charges’ on the basis of no less than six valid arguments. That is how far these contracts overstepped the mark. There simply is no doubt whatsoever that the contracts were not legally worth the paper they were printed on in regards to the collection of default charges.

I have no idea what information HSBC has been providing you with but I would assume the FCA would be interested to find out. I will simply restate what I said in my email of yesterday; that if John Lewis has a sincere desire to ensure its customers receive the compensation they are owed, you will pass on any and all information in your possession that relates to this matter to the FCA and help them do their jobs.

Many thanks again for your earlier reply,


Ben Tomeo